WEBINAR SERIES Subversions from the Informal and Social Economy: Relocating social and ecological values in food systems

The Nourishing Communities research group is conducting community-based research investigating food initiatives that operate within the social or informal economy, intended to address food security and community development; benefit marginalized communities, including low-income groups, Aboriginal people, youth and women; and provide important environmental stewardship services. We are presenting initial reflections and case studies from regions across Canada in three upcoming webinars:

Eastern Ontario Webinar

Join us for reports from four unique community-based research cases in eastern Ontario, where the most prized goals challenge the accepted wisdom of economic primacy.

1) DIG (Durham Integrated Growers for a Sustainable Community)
Mary Drummond, President of DIG and Chair, Durham Food Policy Council and Mary Anne Martin, PhD student in the Joint Trent-Carleton program in Canadian Studies

Key DIG case study themes:

  • the recognition of community expertise
  • the role of supportive and restrictive municipal policies
  • the benefits and pitfalls of relying on unpaid labour,
  • a focus on fostering community
  • the development of alternatives to dominant economic logics and practices

2) Black Duck Wild Rice (BDWR)
James Whetung, Curve Lake First Nation, Founder of BDWR, and Paula Anderson, PhD student in Indigenous Studies, Trent University

Black Duck Wild Rice (BDWR) is a family run community-based social enterprise for wild rice processing, including a maple wood roasting machine, a barrel wild rice huller and a drop winnower. James and family have been long-time advocates for wild rice and its place in developing a more local/regional diet; one that is based off of what this “place” has to offer.  BDWR provides “green” seed for other First Nation communities wishing to re-establish/ restore their traditional manoomin beds within their traditional territorial waterways and has recently acquired a set of canoes that local people can borrow to encourage them to go out and re-establish their relationship with this food.

3) Hidden Harvest
Jay Garlough (Co-founder, Hidden Harvest), Trish Ballamingie (Associate Professor, Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University), and Chloé Poitevin DesRivières (Doctoral Candidate, Geography/Political Economy, Carleton University)

In this webinar, Jay will introduce Hidden Harvest Ottawa – a for-profit social enterprise that aims to legitimize and support the practice of harvesting fruits and nuts in urban areas. Groups of volunteers participate in insured harvest events, organized by trained neighbourhood leaders. The bounty is split between the nearest food agency, the homeowner, the volunteer harvesters, and Hidden Harvest Ottawa—who leverage their share to raise funds for the initiative from local restaurants and processors. Chloe will then touch briefly on key Insight themes (Building Adaptive Capacity; Increasing Prosperity; Increasing Social Capital; and Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship). Trish will conclude by reflecting on the broader conceptual significance of this case study.

4) Ontario East Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) 
Phil Mount, Research Associate, Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

In recent years, higher input costs, lower margins, and an increase in cash cropping have all encouraged the conversion of idle agricultural land, pasture, and native grassland, into corn production—with important repercussions for wildlife habitat in Ontario. Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS) is a non-profit program offering an innovative model for environmental conservation, by providing farmers with financial incentives for the ecological goods and services produced on their land.

Key ON East ALUS case study points:

  • ALUS pays farmers to retire land from agricultural production, and retain or convert it to a natural state
  • widespread benefits include carbon sequestration, improvements in water quality, and increased habitat for fish, wildlife, and pollinators
  • the program is voluntary, farmer-delivered, and community developed

Facilitator: Peter Andree, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Political Science, Carleton University

For registration and webinar access info, please contact pmount@wlu.ca

For more details on the project and webinars